TLDR: The German Volume Training (GVT) leg workout is a training program created in the 1970s that aims to stimulate muscle growth through high training volume, leading to increased strength and size. The workout involves 10 sets of 10 reps, with 50-60% of the lifter’s one rep max, and focuses on overload, form, and recovery
Highlights: This article features the writer’s favourite quad focused GVT leg workout
Highlights: Contains a 10×10 leg workout plan for resistance machines and free weights
Intro To GVT Legs – Muscle Mass In Minutes
Are you looking to break free of your current leg workout routine? Have you heard of the German Volume Training (GVT) leg workout and want to give it a go? Ever wished you could gain more muscle mass in your legs without spending even longer in the gym?
If so, then this GVT leg workout article is for you. We delve into this cutting-edge training programme – what it is, how to do it and the frequency of when to do it. We use evidence-based sources to back up any claims, you can find these at the end of the article. So, get your knee wraps on and let’s dive into building bigger legs through German Volume Training!
What Is German Volume Training (GVT) and What Does It Do?
German Volume Training (GVT) is a workout programme created in the 1970s by German national weightlifting coach Rolf Feser. The goal of GVT is to stimulate muscle growth through higher training volume, which leads to increased strength and size. It’s known as one of the most efficient methods for gaining lean muscle mass anywhere on your body.
GVT Leg workouts will see a lifter aim for 10 sets of 10 reps, with about 50-60% of their 1RM. While this may sound easy, by the time you reach the 8th site and beyond, the overload starts to take it’s toll. It’s this overload that is behind the science of how it works.
After completing your GVT sets, you may finish up with a bit of isolation work to complete the training session pump. More on that further down.
This set/rep structure is extremely effective for maximising muscle growth. While, the key focus of a GVT leg workout are overload, form and recovery.
What Are the Benefits of a GVT Leg Workout?
GVT leg workouts are an excellent way of gaining muscle size on your legs, and developing strength and power, too. With its high rep-volume and moderate rest times, this overload helps the body’s muscular system maximise muscle growth. As a result, GVT leg workouts offer a great option for lower body development.
Research conducted at Ball State University found that GVT leg workouts may lead to greater thigh muscle hypertrophy compared to other leg training methods. This indicates that this training style has a positive effect on hamstring, glute, and quadricep growth – making it the perfect plan for anyone wanting bigger legs.
One other bonus – it’s a huge time saver too. 100 Reps in 10 minutes?
Are There Any Risks With a GVT Leg Workout?
While completing a German Volume Training routine and striving to build muscle size on your legs, it’s important to consider the associated risks and how to minimise them. First up, proper hydration and nutrition on a german volume training plan, will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals while staying safe. Additionally, it’s essential to listen to your body during exercise, as muscle fatigue is normal during GVT legs sessions. It’s best not to push through pain and risk an injury, taking rest or lower-intensity days as needed.
Overtraining can be an issue with a GVT legs plan, something that is often the case for any high volume training programs. So, ensure that you take at least one full day of rest each week for recovery and get some neuromuscular rest in. Try introducing active recovery such as yoga or stretching to get you back into the gym feeling strong and energised for the next session.
High reps of compound exercises will take their toll on your heart rate as well as your muscles. This means if you are in the 200 lbs weight class (or thereabouts), look at a gallon of water on a training day.
What Exercises Should I Do for a GVT Leg Workout?
One of the great things about GVT leg workouts is that all of the exercises involve a mixture of compound and isolation movements that target your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. The key is to incorporate exercises that make each muscle group the primary mover so you can get most benefit from the workout.
For your glutes, target your gluteus maximus with a back-loaded exercise like hip thrusts or a barbell deadlift. I love the sumo deadlift variant and/or a hip drive such as the Panetta hip thrust machine.
For your hamstrings, focus on a Romanian deadlift, where the knee does not bend past 90 degrees, to help build definition in your posterior chain.
To work your quadriceps, try a front squat with an elevated step or a leg press machine.
Finally, to sculpt your calves do calf raises off either a platform or low box step.
With all these exercises, make sure you focus on proper form and technique. Aim for 3 seconds down, 1-2 seconds up. As well as form, consider the mind-muscle connection too. This is where you aim to think about the muscles working and is shown to help lifters avoid injury as well as lift more. How does that work? It may have something to do with preparing your neuromuscular pathways for a load.
How Often Should I Do a GVT Leg Workout?
When it comes to German Volume Training workouts, it’s important to strike the right balance between intensity and recovery. For optimal results, aim to perform a GVT leg workout once or twice a week with at least 48 hours of rest between sessions. That way you can still get the benefits of muscle growth, while ensuring your body has enough time to recover. After all, it’s during this recovery period that your muscles will repair and regenerate – helping you achieve bigger and stronger legs in the long run.
To make sure your leg workouts are effective, use heavier weights than usual and make sure you stick to the 10 x 10 rep range. According to research from Quaranta et al. (2013), an increased intensity of exercise can lead to greater effects on muscle strength and size compared to lower intensities – meaning it’s definitely worth pushing yourself that bit further!
What Is the Optimal GVT Leg Programme for Muscle Growth?
GVT Leg Workouts are the ideal muscle building plan for those looking to gain size in their legs. By manipulating the workout structure, exercise selection, repetitions, sets and rest periods, you can create an effective and efficient GVT Leg Workout plan.
A typical GVT leg workout involves 10 sets of 10 reps with a 60-90 second rest between each set. This is done using compound exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts that targets all of the major muscles in your legs such as hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps. To maximise results from your GVT Leg Workout you should focus on intensity and progression by increasing the weight and reps each session. Additionally, supplementing your programme with stretching exercises could keep your muscles flexible as well as help with recovery time.
My GVT Legs Training Plan
Recently I was short on time for a leg workout during lunch. I deviated from my normal routine, and landed on this. I was in bits (with DOMS) for days – so I thought I’d share it with you.
Quads – Anterior Legs Chain
- Leg Press – Burn Up – Start at the bottom for 6 reps, and keep increasing weight until 6 is a fail
- 10 x 10 of 50% of 1 RM Front Squats (ATG)
- 2 x Fail Split Squats (Standing Lunges)
- 3 x 12 Leg Extension + 1 set of 25 reps with the 12 rep weight.
You can add in some calves if you fancy, but this obliterated my quads and I was done in 30 minutes. Just be honest with the points of failure and train with intensity, don’t BS yourself.
Hamstrings/Glutes – Posterior Legs Chain
Well I’ve given you the GVT leg workout for building a teardrop quad, time to look at what I’d do for my posterior chain. This means hammies and glutes to the less nerdy lifters.
- Leg Curl (Seated preferably) – Burn Up – Same as what we did for the leg press. Add a weight, do 6 more reps. Keep doing until fail. This is a great way to progressively build up a warm up and walk into your working sets properly prepared.
- Sumo Deadlift – 10 x 10. I’m going to level with you – I failed at set 6 the night before writing this.
- Hip/Glute Drive – Burn Up – 12 – 12 – 25 (25 reps on a 12 rep weight)
- Plie/Goblet Squats – Kettlebell – 3 x Fail – Superset with Glute Ham Curls (Roman Chair) 3 x 10/15
Throw in some calves, or some core to make a pretty impactful legs and abs session.
I break my posterior chain and anterior up into two separate days, but I do try to have a little overlap, meaning quads, hams and glutes see two days a week of stimulus.
On the Quad day, your glutes are getting hit, on your posterior chain day, your quads get hit when you sumo deadlift and goblet squat.
That’s my GVT leg workout. The great thing about it, is it doesn’t need much kit. One barbell can work for the deadlifts, the squats, the hip thrusts, lunges, while a band or TRX can help you for leg extensions and curls if those machines aren’t available.
One More For The Resistance Machines
Some hotel gyms don’t have power racks….crazy right? But even the most poorly planned fitness centre can still mean a good GVT leg workout.
If there is a leg press, great that replaces your squat, if there are dumbells, and no bar – do a single leg deadlift version.
Here is a simple leg plan you can follow in case there is limited free weights
- 40 seconds body weight squats
- 40 seconds 1 and a half body weight squats
- 40 seconds isometric chair
That’s the burn up replaced. Take 20 seconds between each exercise. The goal here is to start with the easier move and then progress to a bit of a pump.
- 10 x 10 Leg Press at 60% of your one rep max
- Single Leg Deadlift: 12 – 12 – 12 – 25 (At your 12 rep weight)
- Leg Extension: 12 – 12 – 12 – 25
- Leg Curl: 12 – 12 – 12 – 25
That’s it. 25 working sets – you are good. Alternatively, you could opt for 10 x 10 leg curl and 10 x 10 leg extension. Mix it up. Either way, you’re going to be putting your body under a new type of strain and keep those muscles in gains mode, even if it’s not your normal workout plan.
Outro // The Wrap Up
To sum up, GVT leg workouts are an excellent way to target and grow the legs muscles. By including exercises like squats, deadlifts, walking lunges and calf raises into your plan—as well as using the 10×10 workout structure—you can develop strong, toned legs in no time. Additionally, this plan is flexible enough to incorporate into your existing training plan, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on other muscle groups.
To get the best results, it’s recommended that you do GVT leg workouts two to three times a week – although you can adjust this depending on your personal goals.
The GVT legs approach is perfect for travel as most hotel gyms who we touch on, have at the very least got a leg press, leg curl and leg extension. If there isn’t a leg press, the other two will usually be present, or vice versa. Knowing that you can still get a great workout with less exercise stations can be massively liberating and a huge time saver, so you have more time to enjoy your travels.
So, why not give a GVT leg workout a try today and start measuring results for yourself?